Three Israeli residents of Gush Etzion were killed Tuesday evening when their vehicle slammed into a truck driven by an Arab. The crash occurred on Route 60 between Neve Daniel and Elazar in Gush Etzion. Two were killed in the crash and the third victim, in a third vehicle, was critically injured, and died at Hadassah Ein-Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem.
Two of the victims, who died at the site of the crash, were Rabbi Uri Dasberg, 65, of Alon Shvut, and Yocheved Altushler, 55, of Elazar. The families of the victims have been notified. Rabbi Dassberg's funeral will take place Wednesday at 11 AM in Gush Etzion.
The third victim, a Gush Etzion resident in her 50s, died after being taken for treatment at Hadassah Ein-Kerem Hospital in Jerusalem. Magen David Adom workers who arrived on the scene said that the vehicle driven by the couple had been “completely destroyed.” One of the victims was killed instantly, rescue workers said, while the second succumbed as the workers were trying to administer CPR.
The Arab truck driver was moderately injured in the crash. He was taken for treatment to a hospital in Hevron by a Red Crescent ambulance.
Police have opened an investigation into the circumstances of the crash. Initial investigations show that the vehicle in which the couple were riding had crossed over into opposing traffic, although it is not clear why.
Arab drivers, especially of trucks and other heavy vehicles, have many times in the past been involved in what police call “planned crashes,” where they hit smaller Israeli vehicles on purpose, with an aim to killing or maiming Jews, knowing that their chances of serious injury are minimal. It is not known yet if this was such an incident.
Rabbi Dasberg was the father of Effie Unger, murdered with her husband by terrorists in 1996 as they were driving home near Beit Shemesh in their car. The young couple left two infants, who were raised by Rabbi Dasberg and his wife, Yehudit.
Rabbi Dasberg was a member of the Tzomet Institute in Alon Shvut, best known for its work in applying halachic principles to the use of technology in modern society. Tzomet has developed a number of devices for use in the medical area that can be used on Shabbat without violating Jewish law, among them the “Shabbat phone,” which allows doctors, dangerously ill patients, and hospital staff to easily communicate on Shabbat.
Rabbi Dasberg was co-editor of Tzomet's premier publication, Techumin, which discusses issues of technology and modernization in light of Jewish law, as well as halachic aspects of modern defense, economy, law, and science.